Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Fantasy, fashion, engineering and music reimagined for Steampunk Fest

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 23-25—SPRINGFIELD—The Springfield Steampunk Festival kicks off Friday night, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hartness House Inn. Festival-goers will arrive to the strings of the Springfield Springers with George Ainley rolling back the time machine to before bluegrass was born. Social hour will run from 6:30–7:30 p.m. with Citizens of Antiford—a steampunk community fostering creativity through a shared fictional world. The community expresses itself via cosplay, prop making, video, and especially via collaborative fiction. This story telling happens in the Victorian Ballroom.
For “gamers,” John and Laura Peterson will conduct parlour games in the Tavern and local entertainer Ghost Signal will perform throughout the social hour.
Following the social hour and opening ceremonies, Tritium Well’s Bobby Farlice-Rubio gets things rockin’ with a mix of originals, trad American, Cuban, reggae, rock, funk, blues.
A key link to Springfield’s Victoriana past and inventor history is the Festival’s presenting partner and main venue, the Hartness House Inn, an elegant Victorian turn-of-the-century mansion turned Inn that will be the perfect setting for Steampunk fantasy. Built by James Hartness, former governor of Vermont (1921-23), it features its own museum astronomy observatory and antique telescope with a unique equatorial drive system. More unusual is the secret tunnel system built by Hartness to access the observatory, museum and his secret workshop. Festival-goers and guests will have an opportunity to tour the secret tunnel, view the private workshop, and see the observatory and telescope.
The festival continues on Saturday at 10 a.m., packed with Steampunk activities, including a talk about “Reimagining Resilience” with Bruce Rosenbaum who was dubbed the “Steampunk Guru” by the Wall Street Journal, kid’s crafts in the Tea House, and the Steampunk Fashion Show at 2 p.m. in the Wedding Tent; plus Tea Dueling and Splendid Teapot racing with G.W. Smith and the New England Steampunk Meetup. Music on and off all day includes The King’s Busketeers, Psyche Corp, Eli August & The Abandoned Buildings, and Bella’s Bartok.
Saturday night features a burlesque show with Colorado’s Mistress Fogg and Company at 9 p.m. She’ll perform along with a host of bountiful beauties from around the country. All weekend, vendors from all over the country will be selling everything Steampunk.
The fantasy continues on Sunday with music, storytelling, Steampunk for Teens, Theremin Workshop with Kevin Colosa, Steampunk Zentangle with Wendi Germain, 19th century divination methods with Madame Dina LaDuke, Steampunk Sherlock and even an Industrial Walking tour with Kelly Stettner and more parlor games.
“This Way To The Egress” caps off the weekend cascading onto the stage in an explosion of color and sound that’s equal parts vaudeville, world beat band and three ring circus. Parking is located at designated areas and the Steampunk Bus will shuttle festival-goers to the inn and back. Buy tickets at or at the door.

Photo courtesy Springfield Steampunk Festival
Steampunk-clad festival-goers will visit the Hartness House Inn for the annual event.

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